History and Organization Background
Prior to 1978 when state legislation was implemented, local property taxes were able to fully support the Rim of
the World Unified School District (ROTWUSD). Property taxes for schools went directly to the district. Student enrollment was increasing to the extent that the district built new schools and went on a year-round schedule, with special programs for students who were “off track”. Things were good!
As a result of this legislation, property taxes for schools were sent to Sacramento with payments back to school districts based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). As a direct result, the district began to experience dwindling resources and formed the Rim of the World Education Foundation (ROTWEF) to raise additional funding for programs and services that were being eliminated from the district budget. A select group of educators and community leaders were selected to serve on the Board of Directors, and the Education Foundation was incorporated in 1987.
Over the past 29 years, the Foundation has evolved to meet the challenges that many school districts are facing with budget cuts and reduced state funding. In addition, the district has experienced a significant decline in ADA, making it more important for the Foundation to raise additional funds for programs and services it sponsors.
The mission of ROTWEF is to engage parents, business and community partners in the support of Rim of the World Unified School District (ROTWUSD) and the academic achievement of all its students. Our Vision is Excellent schools …. Create Strong Community. The organization purpose is to strengthen relationships between local schools and communities through a variety of programs that directly benefit students and teachers in the classrooms.
The goals of the Rim Educational Foundation include:
- Provide ongoing financial support of the ROTWUSD through: a continuing endowment fund, fundraising, resource renewal, grants, and community donations
- Support educational excellence for all ROTWUSD students by encouraging student achievement through enhancing curriculum, improving classroom instruction, supporting innovative and creative projects, supporting staff development, and backing evidence-based programs such as AVID.
- Strengthen community involvement with ROTWUSD schools by acting as District Ambassadors to other community organizations such as Rotary clubs, Realtor boards, Soroptimists, etc.
Since its incorporation the organization has been operated solely by volunteers, including the Board of Directors. The Board currently consists of 19 members (educators, retired educators and administrators, business professionals and community leaders) who live and work in the mountain communities. In the most recent year, Board members contributed a total of over 2,600 hours in service to the Board, its Committees, fund raising and community events. This has an operational cost savings of nearly $61,256, based on the CA rate of volunteer service at $23.56 per hour (Independent Sector).
ROTWEF collaborates with an array of partners in the community, including Rim of the World Unified School District, district PTAs, Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce, local service clubs and organizations (i.e. Rotary, Soroptomists), as well as parents and other volunteers.
Partnerships between schools and other community organizations and agencies are helping to create supports that enable children and youth to learn and succeed and help families and communities to thrive. These partnerships bring together diverse individuals and groups, including principals, teachers, school superintendent, school board, community-based organizations, parents and other business partners such as San Bernadino County Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, Serenity Lodge, Tilden-Ciol Constructors, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Bank of America, Rotary Clubs, SchoolsFirst, Edison International, and Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa.
Through its various fund raising and grant development efforts, ROTWEF has contributed a total of over $500,000 to the ROTWUSD, with 75% of proceeds directly benefitting classroom programs and technology (Education Grants and ROP); and 25% to support the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) Program to prepare underprivileged and disenfranchised students for college.
Agency Accomplishments (current year)
ROTWEF put the generous donation from San Manuel to good use this year, and purchased 26 Chrome Books for junior and senior AVID students at Rim High School. Chrome Books are valuable in assisting with computer generated AVID assignments and essays, and conducting online research to examine various colleges they would be interested in applying to, as well as providing them with electronic access to various college applications and essays. Using computer capabilities enables peer feedback and teacher supervision and advice. This significant contribution to AVID students will be highlighted in an upcoming article in the local newspaper (Mountain News), and will serve as an incentive in attracting additional students into the AVID program.
This past year, the ROTWUSD hired a new district superintendent and a new principal at the high school. Both of these individuals are highly supportive of the AVID program. An additional accomplishment was the expansion of the AVID program from two to three sections at the high school, and expansion of 4%, achieving a major objective of the program detailed in the Strategic Plan. In addition, the number of teachers the Foundation sponsored to attend the AVID Summer Institute doubled over the previous year (from four to eight). And finally, our greatest measurement of success this past year was that 100% of Rim High School AVID seniors applied to a four-year college and 100% were accepted! This is in contrast to the 28% acceptance rate for other members of the senior class.
ROTWEF was named “Non-Profit Organization of the Year” by the Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce, signifying its substantial contribution to the students and educators of the Rim of the World School District.